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16 Travel Zambia November 2008reservations@ chongweriver. net - www. chongwe. comZambia, the real Africa ... Chongwe, the real ZambiaLOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK ~ ZAMBIA

November 2008 Travel Zambia 17 A few kilometres from the banks of the Kafue River, beside a small clearing in the dense miombo, I find Brightson hard at work. Why here, I wonder. By way of explanation he indicates an ancient spoil heap, its surface littered with weathered fragments of pure iron. These were once molten droplets: the overspill from an ancient working smelter. Through an interpreter, he explains why this was the perfect site then – the big termite mound provided the clay for the furnace; the nearby dambo provided the water; the woodland provided the timber – and so is just as good today. Brightson's knowledge has been passed down through the generations. He explains that these smelters were used to make weapons during times of conflict, which were then traded for maize meal. He also describes the rituals that accompanied their use: how women were prohibited from visiting a smelter; and how a pot with traditional medicines was left as an offering to ancestors to prevent accidents. ( Exploding smelters, it seems, were an occupational hazard.) Once complete, the new smelter, like its predecessors, will comprise a two- metre- high clay chimney containing alternating layers of charcoal, firewood and iron ore. A mould placed among the ashes at the bottom will capture the molten iron. Brightson actually plans to construct two smelters: one will be operational; the other a demonstration model – opened in cross- section, so visitors can see how it works. He will also sell small iron artefacts forged on site. A glance at the surrounding bush suggests that very little has changed since the first smelter was built here. This is no conventional building site: I point out lion tracks in the dust of the compond. Brightson shrugs. That was two nights ago; now there is work to be done. Visit Kaingu Safari Lodge to see the iron- age smelter and learn more about the region's ancient history: www. kaingu- lodge. com Iron will Brightson Chambweka, based at Kaingu Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park, will be familiar to regular readers of TZ. And the ex- poacher turned guide is now bringing his encyclopaedic knowledge of local history to a fascinating new project: he is reconstructing a traditional iron smelter on its original site. Mike Unwin reports. Mediciiciicine man WRWRITES IT DOWNDOWNDOWNDOWN Did you know that the flowers of the scrambled egg bush ( Glaucous cassia) are used as an aphrodisiac – or that hunters would traditionally use a concoction of hyena droppings and acacia roots wrapped in cloth to ward off other predators? Jacob Katiyo, a guide at Chongwe River Camp ( www. chongwe. com), has been researching the medicinal and cultural uses of plants and animals in his native Zambezi Valley and now plans to pass on his knowledge to other guides in the form of a booklet. " I decided to gather this information from the elders so that people can have knowledge about the flora and fauna and what they can do for people," says Jacob. " I want people to know about these things before they disappear." Brightson Chabweka at work: building the new visitors' reception ( top); pointing out his ancestral lands from the sacred vantage point of Mpamba Rock ( centre and bottom). MIKE UNWIN ( 5) MIKE UNWIN ( 2)